tv CNN Newsroom CNN March 12, 2011 10:00am-11:00am EST
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can you please put my grandma on the phone please? thanks. excuse me a sec. another person calling for her grandmother. she thinks it's her soup huh? i'm told she's in the garden picking herbs. she is so cute. okay i'll hold. she's holding. wha? (announcer) progresso. you gotta taste this soup. looks like water is surging in from the port. >> such dramatic pictures. the earthquake and tsunami that rokd japan may be over, but the danger for the millions there remains. there have been hundreds of aftershocks and perhaps the biggest concern, damage to one of the country's nuclear reactors. good morning. from cnn world headquarters in atlanta, i'm randi kaye. >> i'm becker anderson coming to you from london. it's saturday, march 12th. welcome to our special coverage of the quake and tsunami disaster. >> it is just after midnight in
japan. it's sunday there now. the biggest concern this hour, an explosion at a nuclear power plant. aftershocks continue to hit japan. the latest within the last couple of hours. several countries coming to the aid of japan. a search and rescue team from los angeles among those emergency personnel headed to japan. there have been more than 180 aftershocks since the 8.9 earthquake and tsunami struck japan's northeastern coast. at least 900 people are dead. in one town alone, 9500 people missing. that is more than half of that community's population. an undetermined number are injured. highways in that part of japan are damaged and utility services are out for hundreds of thousands. the quake triggered a new sammy. more than 23 feet high. that traveled six miles inland. this is the largest quake in recorded history to hit japan. and as we've been telling you, the government closely watching a nuclear power plant. the plant damaged earlier
saturday by an explosion that collapsed the roof over one of the plant's reactors. >> we have also evacuated 20 kilometers away from the first nuclear reactor. i would like to give careful attention so that not one citizen is affected by the radiation. >> more than 83,000 people live within six miles of the two nuclear plants. right from the beginning of this disaster, cnn began deploying our worldwide resources to bring you this story. and we are still on it. over the next couple of hours, we're going the talk with cnn correspondents covering all the angles of this tragedy. they'll include stan grant in tokyo for us, kyung lau is in
sendai, anna coren is there as well. elise labatt watching things for us in washington, d.c. and josh levs. we're keeping a close eye on sendai, japan, a city of about a million people now in tatters. cnn international correspondent anna coren has had a tough time getting there, actually. but she's there now live with an update on the ground. anna, what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, already it's pretty quiet here in sendai at the moment. the city is quite deserted. i think many people are just trying to get out. a lot of sendai has been blacked out as far as power and water goes. there are pockets which are up and running from where we are. the majority of the city, it is out. so people are wanting to get out.
they're leaving the city. they have been a number of of shocks as well. a tsunami warning is still in place over much of the east coast of japan. so people wanting to get out, wanting to get away from the coastline that has brought so much pain and suffering the last couple of days. >> and what are supplies like there for these people who are still there? are they running out of food, running out of water? is anything open? >> reporter: yeah, most definitely, randi. we were told coming in that we had to basically bring all our supplies, all our water, all our food. you know, bedding as well. it's been a bit of a mission to try to find a place to stay tonight because many of these places have been turned into evacuation centers. that is the situation for this city, which is really helping those who lost their homes and those who want to stay.
but what is really frightening is the death toll. this is really putting this catastrophe into perspective. we believe that it will go well into the thousands. you know, a couple of hours ago we knew that the death toll surpassed a thousand. then we heard from japan's kyodo news agency that there were 9,500 people missing from a township two hours from sendai. this is a village of some 17,000 people and more than half are unaccounted for. so i think that really puts this picture -- it gives us a real insight into what is taking place and what is unfolding. you know, we'll get access to these towns along the coast and i dare to say we'll hear more and more stories like that. >> anna coren, one of our many reporters on the ground throughout japan rbringing this story to us.
becky? >> stan grant also in tokyo. we're getting report of more aftershocks being felt off japan's eastern coast. can you verify that from where you are? are you feeling any tremors? >> yeah, a little bit. nothing that i would say would be startling, but you do feel agent bit of a shake under your feet occasionally and have been reports of these aftershocks. one was 5.8, i believe, may have been happening periodically throughout the day in intensity. but nothing that i would say startling as far as we can feel here in tokyo. a lot relies really on this unfolding nuclear emergency. you know, the attempts to try to cool the reactor, particularly, becky, a lot of focus on this explosion. this caused a lot of alarm earlier. an explosion, four people injured. we saw that there were plumes of smoke coming from the reactor. now it seems that that explosion
was not in the reactor but in the surrounding wall that blew a hole in the wall, also damage to the roof. they say it did not affect the reactor itself and as a result there was no harmful material released into the atmosphere as a result of that. >> yeah, but some concern remains as to whether the government is accurate with all the information that it has. we have an expert on just earlier on. and this might be useful for you as much as it is for us and our viewers. 55 nuclear reactors in japan. 11 of them went offline yesterday. 5 have had coolant problems as did that one. 5 have been declared emergencies as was that one. it contains, this chap said, it will become a complete disaster, the like of which we've never seen in japan if things were to get worse. but as you're suggesting, as far as the authorities are concerned at the moment, they've sort of capped it off, have they?
>> reporter: well the prime minister is saying that no one has been affected by any radioactive material so far. they have put this 20 kilometers, 12, 13 mile sclus zone around the area. thousands of people have been evacuated from the area. they've brought in helicopters to shift some of the older people from that area as well. this is an ongoing attempt to cool the reactor. that's where all the concern lies. the reactor is meant to withstand great heat, but if that's being affected and that starts to melt down, then you have the problem of the fuel itself being exposed to that heat if there is any damage to the structure, that's the critical question here, then you have this release of radio active material if you have a more significant meltdown inside the plant itself. but at this stage, they are stressing that there's no danger to the people. the levels are not at a dangerous level. but they have put this exclusion zone in and every hour, many people said this is a race
against time, every hour that goes by, becomes more critical if they can't bring that reactor under control and start to cool it down. >> stan grant with the story. thank you for that. tens of thousands of americans live in japan. and that has created a huge challenge for the u.s. state department. with entire communities cut off and communications widely disrupted, washington is scrambling to get word for worried families back in the states. elise labatt joins us from washington. how can families learn more about their loved ones in japan? >> well, becky, as you said, there are thousands of americans who live and work and travel to japan. they set up a 24/7 counselor's task force and they've set a series of e-mails that families can send to not only if you live in japan but if you live in the tsunami affected area for e-mails. i think we're going to put them up on the screen for our viewers
and we'll have them on our website. if you have a loved one, you can e-mail these addresses and there's a number you can call. as much information as americans can find out about their -- provide for their loved one, medical information, date of birth, place that they were last known to be, the state department really trying to get on top of that. and obviously officials are on the ground trying to help americans. so far no reported american deaths or casualties. >> elise also lending support by air, of course. what can you tell us about that? >> well, as you know, the americans have promised a robust response really not sparing any resources that the u.s. has right now. basically so far two chinook helicopters have started delivering some aid, some rice and bread to the most affected areas, but also the entire seventh fleet has really been mobilized, about eight warships circling the area, trying to get resources prepositioned for any
requests that the japanese might have. the u.s. also sending some rescue teams. one from virginia and one from los angeles county. search and rescue teams en route to try to help the japanese and their recovery effort, becky. >> good stuff, elise labott there at the state department. and there's really remarkable video that's being fed in to cnn all the time from all kinds of people. we have i-reports coming in. people who are in many cases are really risking their lives, which we wish they wouldn't do, but they're gathering this video and here's a recap of some of the most dramatic images that we've seen since the quake struck. this first one, becky, is really among the most horrifying. the unstoppable tide of mud racing across those farmlands. that water, the power of that water, it took everything with it. anything that might have been in its way. you can see there's cars in that water, there are homes.
it just crashes right through. >> it's unstoppable, isn't it? let's get our viewers -- it's quite remarkable. let's get you another video. you can see a row of burning cars swept up in the leading edge of one wave. just watch this. these cars on fire and then suddenly they kept swept away. i can't think whether this is the same video as i was watching before. maybe they don't. but that's showing it's not just about water. it's about fire as well. there you see them. they're actually all sort of floating around in what had been, one assumes -- looks to me like a car park or a used car depot or something like that. remarkable stuff. >> so many fires burning. in cities and towns really as the video comes in, you can see they're just in ruins. there's so much devastation. that's why it's so critical that
these search and rescue teams coming from all parts of the world get to japan and get to these areas as quickly as they can. because their only hope is that there are still people alive trapped in the water and trapped. look at this mess and you hope, but you really have to wonder. >> yeah, and you do wonder when you've been in situations like this. i remember i was there for the pakistan earthquake back in 2005. the great thing is that you do actually see people plucked from their homes, stranded residents, actually plucked from their homes any way they can. you can see here some of the emergency services taking this woman from what was probably a boat i think that she was in with her parents and her brother. so there are great stories in amongst what is such a grim, grim tale. but yep, you see the emergency services getting some of these guys to safety. >> earlier we saw that guy who had made that makeshift flag. he was waving this -- it looked like a white sheet. trying to get attention out his
upper window of a building just hoping that someone will see him and find him. a lot of people have been plucked off roof tops. that seems to about the way to go. if you want to help, if you're moved by some of this video that becky and i were just showing you and you want to make a difference in japan. you can visit our impact your world webpage. it's at cnn.com/impact. plenty of organizations there. they are certainly anxious to help you help the victims in japan, if you would like to donate. just check out that webpage. we're also watching other parts of the world. in yemen, weeks of protests have again erupted into violence. witnesses say government troops opened fire on an anti-government protest in the capital. cnn's mohammed jamjun is monitoring events there. he joins us from abu dhabi. >> we heard today from medical officials that there's another least one protester killed due to a gunshot wound in the head
earlier today. dozens injured in sanaa. really gaining momentum. tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators continue to camp out. they have a tent city outside of senaa university. they're calling it change square. they're demanding the ouster of the president who has ruled the country for 32 years. he's entrenched. he says he's going nowhere, but he's starting to lose support. many of the opposition say they will not accept any concessions he makes. the only thing they want is for him to go. we've just seen in the past hour a statement from the u.s. embassy in senaa. really concern for the allies of yemen because if the president is forced to step down people keep wondering who will be able to fill the vacuum. the opposition is a very fractured group. this is a country that has an
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welcome back. the tsunami is being blamed for one death in the united states. a man was swept out to sea while trying to take pictures of a surge at a beach in california. elsewhere on the west coast, the tsunami had little lasting impact, with waves measuring from less than a foot to just over five feet high. hawaii's governor neil abercrombie has signed a state of disaster proclamation after the tsunami struck the islands on friday. no deaths were reported but the surge left behind millions of dollars of damages. the disaster proclamation will make it easier for hawaii to get federal relief funds. russell honore is no stranger to disaster management. he became a household name in new orleans after hurricane katrina.
he has continued to spread awareness on disaster management. he's joining us this morning from baton rouge, louisiana. good to see you. i want to ask you first about this rescue and relief efforts because from what i understand from our barbara starr who you've spoken to many times, japan is leading these efforts. they're leading the call. they are calling the shots. but some are wondering why aren't we seeing more rescue efforts already? is this about politics? is this about pride? or could this also possibly be about who is paying the bill for these rescue efforts? how does it work? >> well, it could be a little bit of all of that. i would assume it's about coordination is what i'm hoping the problem is. ronald reagan is within two hours of getting inside capability to launch aircraft. but all of those can play a role when it comes to foreign aid in a disaster.
that normally if it comes from the state department, then they would have to sort out the payback to the defense department for those expenditures. the other piece of it is right now the japanese self-defense force, by my count and open sources, have about 325 helicopters that can assist in and around that area. and the next thing the navy has been repositioning forces such as the third u.s. marine expeditionary force which has a large helicopter capacity, and when the reagan get in zone, it has between eight to 12 helicopters on it. they would be able to launch. i would suspect by the time the people in japan wake up tomorrow morning, they will see a small fleet of navy aircraft on the horizon or ready to help in the vicinity of the disaster. >> so if you were to --
>> but all those decision points have to go through. >> if you were running this operation if you had your men and women around the table, what would you have them doing right now? >> right now i'd be going over the sectors and going in and creating liaison with the japanese defense force as to wa sect are they would want us to work in, work collaboratively with them, coming in from the sea and doing air search and rescue. this is not rocket science. and we have some of the best in the world at it in the united states navy. coming ashore with an ability to get people who are stranded on rooftops fold by being able to get boats in the water to start patrolling that area where people might be stranded. and you can get to them only by boat. so the assets are getting some place. we still haven't seen the request from the government of japan requesting u.s. military search and rescue. what's holding that up, i would
imagine, is the assessment that was going on and the waiting till those ships get inside strike range. by tomorrow morning, you'll see several of those ships on the horizon. >> i remember -- >> tomorrow morning in japan time. >> right. i remember after hurricane rita, i flew with you to survey the damage. and it was amazing to see how you were able to look and see what needed to be done. i also remember people on their rooftops. and we've seen this already even in this earthquake and tsunami. one gentleman holding out a white sheet and hopefully looking to be plucked from his rooftop. does this bring back memories for you? do you see any comparison here to be made between katrina and rita in this? >> yeah, absolutely. because the area affected by the tsunami was kind of a delta area. and the only high ground there were the roads that deflected the water. and the water came in to that area some ten kilometers in, so
all of that farmland with animals and farm crops, very similar to what we saw from the effects of the tidal surge after katrina, rita and gustav. this is trapped on land. the only way to do the s.a.r., search and rescue, is through helicopter. the u.s. navy is now based to do that coming on request from the country of japan. within hours that capacity will continue to build. by the time tomorrow morning in japan when they wake up, they should see several vessels including the "reagan" which as i said was about two hours steam time from arriving at the area. >> general honore, always great to speak with you and to have you discuss this story with us. thank you so much. >> we continue our special coverage of the aftermath of the japanese earthquake and tsunami, some breaking news just coming in to cnn center. i want to keep you bang up to
date on. according to diplomatin ingdipl told, the arab league says it will back a no-fly zone over libya. the arab league says it will back a no-fly zone over libya. this according to diplomats. obviously, we are working to confirm this story. that's an important one, as there is no clear agreement from members of the united nations security council as of yet, which is where a draft resolution sits at the moment. we'd need some clear legal definition before a no-fly zone was operational. but so far as the western powers at least that the u.n. will be concerned, support from the arab league would be crucial. how it would operate, when or why remain to about seen. but the news just coming in to cnn center that we'll get confirmed for you as soon as we can is that diplomats are saying that the arab league backs a no-fly zone over libya.
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welcome to our viewers worldwide. i'm becker anderson with randi kaye and our special coverage of the aftermath of the japanese earthquake and tsunami. the country is dealing with two natural disasters at the same time. and that is a huge challenge. robert jensen assists disaster recovery. he's an expert who has directed response efforts to numerous incidents from haiti to indonesia. and he joins us now from houston, texas. one of the major challenges as you see them at this point? >> becky, there's several challenges. really, there are three disasters they're facing. they have the natural disasters of the earthquake and the tsunami. they also have the nuclear emergency, which in and of itself would be a disaster. what they're facing right now is coordinating the right resources to do life saving activity, get food, staples to people who need them. rescue people who are at risk of dying. then start to come up with a
plan to rebuild. unfortunately, all those things have to be managed at the same time. and that takes a lot of coordination and work. >> how well prepared will officials in japan have been? >> well, i think japan is a country, their officials, the prime minister, have prepared as well as any country can, but the scope and scale of this disaster is such that it's going to test even the best prepared government. i think they prepared as best that they could given their infrastructure. there's only so many resources any country can devote to have ready for a response because you've got to take care of day-to-day business as a government. now, i think they've dedicated before that earthquake the appropriate level of training and planning, but now the fact is no country alone would have the resources to respond to this crisis alone. they've got to have help. >> it's after midnight now. we're nearly 30 hours in after
the initial earthquake. and frankly, our correspondents on the ground telling us that they've been able to discover very little and little is known about many thousands of people at this point. how difficult, how long will this recovery be? and how much help will they require? >> well, a couple things. the recovery will never end. for the people that are involved, this will go on a lifetime. this is not something that will go away in the immediate events for probably 12 to 18 months. getting food, getting water, life saving, that's probably going to come to a standstill or a momentum -- or a nonmomentous period in another week to 14 days. by then, the people are going to be saved should be saved. systems should be in place to get food and water. but then the rebuilding will become a process that's going to take a lot of time. and unfortunately, that's about the same time that all the
international teams move out. it's not glamorous any more. it's not exciting. that's when the country's really going to need help because there's only so many earth moving machines in a country, only so many structural engineers in a country. the finances are going to be a huge drain because you've got to start from scratch. they're going to have to decide do they even rebuild some of these communities. >> robert jensen joining us this afternoon. we thank you very much for joining us, sir. >> you're welcome, becky. and as we've been saying and actually showing you, the northeastern city of sendai is one of the worst hit areas in japan. the picture there really one of utter and complete devastation. it is really the only way to put it. cnn reporters are on the ground. families are looking for their loved ones. they're looking for help. they're looking for gasoline, they're looking for something to eat. we are there. and we'll bring you the very latest.
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we want to welcome our worldwide audience back to our special coverage of the disaster in japan. i'm randi kaye. >> and i'm becky anderson in london. thank you very much indeed for watching. it's 12:30 in the morning in japan. it's sunday there. the biggest concern this hour, an explosion at a nuclear power plant. aftershocks continue to rattle nerve s and the ground. the latest struck within the past couple of hour. several countries coming to the aid of japan. a search and rescue team from los angeles is among those emergency personnel headed there. more than 180 aftershocks recorded since the earthquake and tsunami struck japan's northeastern coast. at least 900 people dead. in one city alone 9500 people are missing, an unknown number are injured. highways in that part of japan are damaged. utility services are out for
hundreds of thousands of people. the quake triggered a tsunami more than 23 feet high that traveled six miles inland. as we've been telling you, the government closely watching a nuclear pow are plant. the plant was damaged earlier saturday by an explosion that collapsed the roof over one reactor. >> we'll take a quick break. stick with us. we have much more to come on the disaster in japan. we have reporters from all over the region there covering that for us on the ground. we'll also get in touch with somebody from the red cross who can talk to us about the relief and rescue efforts.
welcome back. japan is asking for international help. among those answering the call, the international red cross. patrick fuller works with the international red cross asia pacific zone. he joins us on the phone now from tokyo. mr. fuller, it's been now about 34 hours or so since the quake and the tsunami hit. what is the red cross doing right now to help? all right. we lost patrick fuller from the red cross. we do hope to get him back on the phone. in the meantime, we'll take a quick break. starts with back pain...ove and a choice. take advil now... and maybe up to 4 in a day. or, choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. smart move. ♪
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as we mentioned just before the break, japan is asking for international help. among those answering the call is the international red cross. patrick fuller works with the red cross asia pacific zone. he joins us on the phone from tokyo. it's been 34 hours since the disaster struck. what's the red cross doing right now? >> well, we've deployed basically 62 emergency response
teams from all over japan, the japanese red cross medical teams primarily, who are affiliated with their hospitals all across the country. their role is to go see what the medical needs are amongst the survivors along the coastline but to support the psychological need of people who are in the first aid and the evacuation centers where people have been relocated to. that's one of the primary needs. but one of the most urgent needs is actually to reach people who are still stranded as a result of the tsunami. we have these huge walls of water coming in for about ten kilometers to land. but as they've receded we're left with these inland lakes and dunes, and they've trapped people in houses. >> is the red cross able to get to those people? >> well, that's not really our role in this situation. i mean, the armed forces are taking the lead. they have thousand of military personnel and civil defense
people out there doing a great job and they're working all hour to actually reach people. i got a report -- >> we've heard so much from our correspondents about food not being easy to come by, water, gasoline. is that something that the red cross will be able to help supply? >> we're certainly taking supplies in to the evacuation tents. we've got thinks like blankets for people who had to leave everything behind. one of the challenges is going up into the northeastern areas. we're finding it very, very difficult. we've had teams on the road for the past 36 hours trying to reach communities who are 400 kilometers away. that gives you a sense of how hard ut is because there's been so much devastation, so many roads washed out. you get to a certain point where you just can't go any further. >> and how many people can the red cross actually help? how many people can you serve? and is there anything that you need? >> you know, i don't think we can put a number on it.
because at the moment we simply don't know how many people are affected. if the situation is still unfolding, we're coming across new communities every day that haven't been reached. i was talking to a colleague yesterday in the sendai area. he said all the power is out. they were going around in the evening, the civil defense teams in boats just going around the communities looking for people with flashlights who are still stranded in their home that need help. it's still early day to actually get a picture of the full scope of this disaster. >> certainly we're reporting 9500 people in just one community, one town missing. so of course you need to get a better count, then figure out what the needs are. patrick full wer the red cross. becky? >> early days indeed. well, you've seen the remarkable video of that tsunami washing over the japanese landscape. but how do these deadly towering walls of water form? the anatomy of a tsunami we turn
to director of the u geological survey. she joins us from new york. in very basic terms, the anatomy of a tsunami, if you will. >> yes. well, becky, thank you for asking that question because tsunamis are very often associated with earthquakes, but they do not need to be associated with earthquakes because a tsunami forms any time the sea floor suddenly changes depth. it can be caused by an earthquake, but it can also be caused, for example, by a landslide under water, by a volcanic eruption that causes the ground to slide or anything else that causes a sudden change of the ground. so for example, there have been cases where there were landslides in the canary islands
that cause tsunami on the east coast of the unite. so there are many places that are vulnerable around the u.s. to tsunamis. >> can you anticipate a tsunami, and if so, do something for those who are in its way? >> yes. we do allot of scenario planning in the u.s. geological survey in which we try to understand what sort of situations might lead to a tsunami, and then we can do modeling that would determine what would be the potential for run-up, which depends on what the shape of the coastline is and how steeply the coastline rises. and that, of course, is, you know, dependent on what the coast looks like. >> very briefly then, what would the modeling have looked like for this coastline? was enough done or was this completely out of the blue?
>> i can't say specifically for japan, but i do know that the geologic record shows that back in 800 a.d. there was an earthquake very much like this one and the geologic record shows that a very similar scenario had played out in this location. but 800 a.d. is a very long time ago. and, of course, there would be very little human record to show for that. >> marcia, with that, we'll leave it there. thank you very much indeed for joining us. your expert on the subject this evening. in a moment, images from inside japan's biggest ever earthquake by the people who lived through it. ♪
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interactive look. >> we do a lot of reporting on what's been going on in the devastation there. but part of what has happened with this social media rev o lug around the world, people forget that youtube is social media. people are sharing their individual experiences in the middle of this quake, no matter where they were. and in this modern era you can see it in a whole new way. take a look at this. from esri.com. every where that you see an orange circle is another earthquake. every time you see the youtube symbol, that's a place that you can see a youtube video from that area in japan. we have pulled out some of the most powerful one. this in a supermarket. look at that. that was in kyoto ward in tokyo.
you can basically feel it from watching this shot. let's go to the next one. this was taken in a residential home in alba ward in sendai. let's listen. >> fortunately the people involved in these areas you see here turned out to be fine. but it's a reminder that we're in a completely different era now when so many people. japan has about 80% internet usage of the population. so many people have these cameras that they can just grab and show you the experiences that they are having. we're told everyone is fine there. let's give you one more that's getting attention as well. this one comes from russia today. this has become very popular online. one of the youtube videos showing all the flooding there
at the sendai airport. i want to tell you something and where you can send video to us. youtube has a section called citizen tube. if you go to youtube.com/citizentube, you'll see hundreds of videos that they've culled together like what i just talked about. individuals who were stuck in this situation who are, fortunately, okay and able to send forward their videos and share them with the world. anything to youtube there's another great way to do that. and that's ireport.com. go ahead and send them to ireport. any of the videos that are striking you the most you can send to me at facebook and twitter. i'm at joshlevs.cnn. we're getting incredible numbers of videos and photos from people in the wake of this devastation helping us see what their individual experiences were. >> it really does support our reporting. so we ask for more. we're getting some dramatic pictures from the i-reporters, as josh said, of the first
moments of the massive earthquake rattling japan. we'll bring you those sounds and images and take you live to japan after a short break. do stay with us. [ male announcer ] achievement: embraces mondays. ♪ achievement: loves working capital. ♪ achievement: puts receivables to work. ♪ achievement: expects a lot of itself. cfo: cash flow options, helping business achievers better manage their cash flow. pnc. for the achiever in us all. helping business achievers like the other stuff, cash flow. diet snapple has healthy stuff. [ horn honks ] and tasty stuff. we just took out the calories and stuff. so who comes up with this stuff? i do. ooh! now who wants some free stuff? [ all ] me! snapple. the best diet stuff on earth.